Leclerc apologises to Ferrari for FP2 crash as Sainz eyes four-way battle in Saudi Arabia
Ferrari’s Friday in Saudi Arabia was a largely smooth operation until Charles Leclerc ended FP2 with a high-speed crash into the Turn 23 barriers. The Monegasque racer said he was eager to make it up to the team with a solid qualifying performance, as Carlos Sainz looked forward to a midfield melee in Jeddah.
Thankfully, Leclerc walked away from the accident that prematurely ended his Friday running; with around five minutes remaining in FP2, he spun at Turn 22 and hit the Turn 23 barriers with the rear and right-side of his Ferrari. He cut an apologetic figure after emerging from the Medical Centre.
READ MORE: Gasly thrilled with AlphaTauri’s short-run performance as Tsunoda hails 'special’ Jeddah track
“Yes, a day that unfortunately didn’t end up the way that I wanted, but overall we went through everything we wanted to test,” said Leclerc. “I think the potential is here and if we put everything together for tomorrow, we should have a good day.
“But obviously, I’m sorry for the team that will have to do a big, big work ahead of tomorrow for the car to be ready, and hopefully I will do a good enough job to thank them in the best way possible with a good result tomorrow,” he surmised.
While Leclerc finished seventh and 10th in the respective pair of sessions, team mate Sainz took P6 then P7. The Spaniard was “relatively confident” as the Scuderia aim to consolidate P3 in the constructors’ standings this weekend, but pointed out three other teams that could cause problems for Ferrari.
“I feel relatively confident,” he said. “I did a good build up through the day, you know, getting up to speed very little by little, and the pace has been there all day. Just trying different compounds, different fuel loads [and] we need to analyse who is in front and who is behind.
“But at the moment it looks like another very tight battle with AlphaTauri, Alpine… and McLaren and ourselves. So, it looks like from fifth backwards it could be a very tight fight like it was in Qatar,” he said.
READ MORE: Horner calls Red Bull’s pace ‘really encouraging’ as they prepare for decisive battle in Jeddah
Sainz added that Jeddah Corniche Circuit reminded him of Macau – the prestigious city track where, incidentally, Sainz won the 2010 Formula BMW Pacific season finale.
“It’s different, very different to anything I’ve driven before really, to be honest,” he recalled. “The intensity that this track gives you and the thrill and the adrenaline is something that I haven’t lived... since my Macau days.
“So, yes, very different, very intense, very high-speed, very close to the walls. I kept trying to get the turning points right just before brushing the wall on the inside. It’s quite crazy out there but it looks like so far everyone has stayed safe today, and hopefully we can keep it the same way going into tomorrow and Sunday.”